A destructive invasive species has seen a rebound in Wisconsin this year. Gypsy moths can damage trees and shrubs by eating away their leaves.
The annual trapping program conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) caught 83,720 moths this year, up from 52,396 in 2019.
It’s an increase attributable in part to variations in winter weather. Last year was a historic low after two harsh winters.
“Weather conditions were relatively mild across Wisconsin compared to the previous two years,” said Michael Falk, DATCP’s gypsy moth trapping coordinator. “Winter temperatures were not low enough to kill gypsy moth eggs, and spring conditions did not support the fungal and viral diseases known to kill gypsy moth caterpillars. As a result, gypsy moth populations rebounded after two consecutive years of population decrease.”